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Boneland by Alan Garner


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The final volume of the Weirdstone trilogy is described on the book jacket as ‘a novel for adults, concluding a trilogy that was begun for children.’ A gap of almost 50 years separates Boneland from the preceding volume, The Moon of Gomrath, and in style it is certainly closer to Alan Garner’s more recent works, such as Strandloper and Thursbitch. The language has been pared down and often has a poetic quality to it, as if multiple meanings have been compressed into the sentences.

Set forty years or so after the events in The Moon of Gomrath, Colin is now a respected astrophysicist who works at Jodrell Bank observatory and is experiencing some sort of breakdown. He has been put on leave while he recuperates and we learn that he has no memory of his life before he was thirteen, the period during which the events in the first two books take place. He is eventually put in contact with a psychiatrist called Meg, who helps him to unravel the events that he has tried to block from his mind.

Mirroring Colin’s story is that of an unnamed Watcher from prehistory, who seems to be linked to Colin across time. The text alternates between their twin stories and takes on a stark beauty as the Watcher’s life is conveyed through flashes of imagery. It gives these parts of the book a very mysterious and powerful quality. Eventually, both stories come into focus and amplify each other.

As in the earlier books in the trilogy Boneland draws upon myth and legend, particularly Gawain and the Green Knight, and much is left to the reader to figure out for themself. This is also one of the book’s strengths, as it is not open to quick or easy interpretations and will most certainly reveal more upon each re-reading. Those readers expecting the adventure to continue on directly from The Moon of Gomrath, and to feature a similar cast of characters, will probably be a bit thrown by the book. However, anyone looking for a haunting story that will leave them with much to ponder will most certainly be well rewarded.

If you like Alan Garner you might also like to read books by William Horwood.


Boneland by Alan Garner

The crowning achievement of an astonishing career, 'Boneland' concludes the story that began over fifty years ago in 'The Weirdstone of Brisingamen'. If the sleeper wakes, the dream dies...Professor Colin Whisterfield spends his days at Jodrell Bank, using the radio telescope to look for his lost sister in the Pleiades. At the same time, and in another time, the Watcher cuts the rock and dances, to keep the sky above the earth and the stars flying. Colin can't remember; and he remembers too much. Before the age of twelve years and nine months is a blank. After that he recalls everything: where he was, what he was doing, in every minute of every hour of every day. But Colin will have to remember what happened when he was twelve, if he wants to find his sister. And the Watcher will have to find the Woman. Otherwise the skies will fall, and there will be only winter, wanderers and moon...


Press for 'Boneland':

'From Harry Potter to The Hunger Games, adults have been enthusiastically been reading children's books over recent years. Garner predates the cross over phenomenon by decades, but he has never been just a children's writer: he's far richer, odder and deeper than that

'There is much left unexplained. However, this is a novel for all the children who loved 'The Weirdstone Of Brisingamen' but who have now grown up.' Four out of Five stars. Sarah Kingsford, Daily Express

About the Author

Alan Garner

Alan Garner was born in Congleton in Cheshire in October 1934. He was brought up on Alderley and lives with his wife and family, between Congleton and Alderley. Alan Garner's writing was Highly Recommended for the only international children's book award, The Hans Christian Andersen Medal, in 1978. He was also awarded the twelfth annual Children's Literature Association International Phoenix Award for his novel The Stone Book and by extension, of course, for the entire Stone Book Quartet. In 2001, Alan was awarded an OBE for his services to Children's Literature, despite admitting that he doesn't write for children - they just understand his books best.

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Book Info

Publication date

6th June 2013


Alan Garner

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Fourth Estate Ltd an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers


160 pages


Literary Fiction
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